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How much does a person need?

October 31, 2022

Jim and I have always been frugal. From the time we started dating and we created our first budget together to 35+ years later until today, it has never been about money or possessions (although you look at our library, you might wonder :)). I don’t mean to brag, but just as a fact about us. When we dated we were planning on living long-term oversees and that kind of prepared us for a life of simplicity and focus. Over the years we have had amazing opportunities to work in a variety of places and we are so thankful for the work we got to do, the people we got to serve. We enjoy our adventures of serving oversees and now both work for non-profits. We (almost) own a small home and have everything we need. Neither one of us was or is ‘career oriented’ and so our decisions on jobs are more based on opportunities, prayer, wise counsel and purpose and mission fit. I should also say that we do not have children and that makes decisions so different in many ways.

So with that said, I always wonder how much does a person need to feel they have enough. I know research has shown that most people feel they don’t have enough and yet when is enough enough? We live in a world where external possessions are so important, where the keeping up with the Joneses has become the norm, where people go into debt only to be able to show off their treasures. How many RV’s and boats are in long term storage? How big a house is big enough? How much do we want and then keep in storage facilities?

I wonder how much of our drive to ‘more’ is based on an unrest in our soul, a longing for something more. I wonder if we had deeper relationships that we value, if those things would not seem that important any longer? I wonder if we could learn to share our ‘toys’ with each other if that would reduce the burden of having everything?

A friend of mine has a ‘rich’ friend, who is incredibly generous. He is a person of faith and knows that his identity is not wrapped up in the goods he has, but his relationship with God and others. So, when they go out to the beach to play on his seadoos and a young persons admires it, he will allow the youth to use it, and he reminds himself and my friend “it is not mine”. What if we could have that attitude with all our possessions and all our money?

Would it matter less how much a CEO makes? How much stock people have in something? How many toys, or how big a car is? If we had a looser grip on the ‘mine’ and the ‘bigger and better’ would it make our world a better place? Would people become more generous if our attitudes would change to “it’s not mine”? I am not talking about ‘distribution of wealth’ I am talking about a generous spirit and and open hand and a willingness to share with dignity. It would make our world a better place.

As we enter the holiday season, let’s all consider if we really need the ‘thing’ or could we use the money more wisely? How about helping a senior with a PGE bill, or a struggling friend with a gift card? What if you could partner with a non-profit and work together on helping people?

35 years into our marriage and it is so easy to impulse buy, to get the latest app or gadget…. We are still learning to be good stewards of our resources, still learning on what really matters in life. I will let you know when we have it down :).

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